David Warner's men left the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday night as killjoys, but also as champions.
In an engrossing Indian Premier League (IPL) final, Surisers Hyderabad (SRH) secured its first title with an eight-run victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), having doughtily fought back from trouble in both innings. Warner's ninth fifty of the season and Ben Cutting's extraordinary late assault led SRH to a mighty 208 in its 20 overs.
In response, the home side flew out of the traps but half-centuries from Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli, and their century stand for the first wicket, went in vain. For RCB, it was a third defeat in three finals. This one will perhaps hurt the most.
Gayle embarked on the run chase as if he had a flight to catch to Kingston. Barinder Sran was taken for 29 in his first two overs, both of which the Jamaican faced in entirety. Cutting was twice heaved over the ropes and Moises Henriques attacked with similar fury. Gayle raised his fifty, off only 25 balls, with yet another six as RCB hurtled after the target. Henriques was taken for 21 in the ninth over, Gayle bashing consecutive sixes, as the total entered three figures.
At this stage, RCB seemed at peace with the world, but things quickly took a turn for the worse. Gayle was excised by Cutting for 76 (38b), Bipul Sharma running in from third man to complete a fine catch. It was the end of a first-wicket stand of 114, in 10.3 overs.
Kohli, who at the other end had been relatively quiet, then briefly dazzled, completing a 32-ball-50 with a six over extra cover, but he soon dragged Sran onto the stumps. It triggered a collapse of four for 24 in 23 balls.
AB de Villiers fell trying to hit Bipul against the spin. K. L. Rahul was bowled by Cutting and Shane Watson was consumed by Mustafizur Rahman's cutter. RCB fought on gamely, but it was never going to be enough.
Earlier, Warner's decision to bat first was quickly justified. Shikhar Dhawan and he added 63 runs for the first wicket in only 40 balls. Warner tore into RCB, whose bowlers he appears to have a fondness for. Watson's first ball was launched over long off, the start of a fifth over that yielded 19 runs. Gayle was then struck over the sight-screen and Iqbal Abdulla was dispatched a dozen rows beyond long-on.The fifty -- off only 24 balls -- was raised with a pair of fierce boundaries through the offside off Yuzvendra Chahal.
As good as Yuvraj Singh looked at the crease – and he played some pleasing shots – there lurked the feeling that Warner's exit would slow Sunrisers down. And once the captain fell for 69 (38b), caught at short third man off the excellent Arvind, the brakes seemed to have been applied.
RCB had not budgeted, however, for Cutting's whirlwind innings. The Australian all-rounder went berserk as 52 runs came off the last three overs, including 24 off Watson's final over. Cutting clobbered three sixes off his compatriot, finishing unbeaten on a 15-ball-39. Watson walked back with the worst individual bowling figures this season: 0 for 61 from his four overs. Jordan and he were guilty of missing their line far too often on the night. RCB would pay dearly for it.
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